Watch the podcast with great info on the Wixom Lake real estate market and the controversy surrounding the dam and the resolutions in progress to remedy the situation.
February 11, 2019 - Dates Announced for the Public Meetings. Get Info and Hear Q&A.
Four Lakes Neighbors,
We hope you will join us at one of the upcoming public information meetings to learn more about the current situation with the dams and lake levels and the tentative Special Assessment District, as questions and offer your input. Everyone is welcome at any of the meetings:
Albright Shores Eagles F.O.E.
1380 Estey Road
Tuesday, February 19, 2019, 7PM – 9PM
Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 7PM - 9PM
Meridian Early College High School, Community Room
3303 N. Meridian Road
Thursday, February 21, 2019, 7PM – 9PM
Thursday, February 28, 2019, 7PM - 9PM
Smallwood and Secord Lake
Secord Lake F.O.E.
3485 Lake Shore Drive
Sunday, February 24, 2019, 2PM-4PM
Each property owner in the tentative Special Assessment District will receive these details, with our new FAQ, by mail in the next few days. You can also find the FAQ on our website.
Hope to see you there!
January 15, 2019
Dave Kepler, Chair of the 4 Lakes Task Force
Dave Rotham, Wixom Lake Association
Notes taken by Sonya Loose at the Clare/Gladwin Board of Realtors General Membership Meeting
The dams are nearly 100 years old, built in the 1920’s. They’ve been under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) control since the 1990’s. Essentially the dams have been and currently are private property (owned by Boyce Hydro) governed by a federal entity with the DNR and the DEQ having some say. Much of the issue has arose since the Wixom Lake dam can not handle a Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) according to FERC. Due to this and other issues FERC has revoked Boyce Hydro’s ability to generate power on Wixom Lake. Wixom Lake had generated ½ of their power revenue.
The regulations under state control are different and Wixom Lake (Edenville) dam would meet the PMF guidelines and there is no spillway issue under state control either because of this. State control of lake levels are referred to as 307. The task force is very confident there is a strategy for Wixom Lake but they are working to get all 4 lakes under state control because it is likely that issues could arise on the other 3 lakes (Secord, Smallwood & Sanford). In order to be under 307 with the State of Michigan where lake levels are established, there are specific things that must happen including a signed resolution by the counties (Gladwin & Midland). I believe this has been done already. The dams must also be purchased by the county. It should be noted that there would be an agreement with Boyce to lease back the power generation portion. The county does not want to enter into the power business. They are working with Consumers however to try and get the best rates for the power generation sold. Also, the DEQ must determine safety and the state would determine the lake level. The lake levels would be the same as they have historically been.
When the water level was lowered in the fall for FERC to inspect, it was to inspect the base of the dams only. The 3 dams on Secord, Smallwood and Sanford passed. Wixom didn’t have this inspection. A dam safety engineering report was completed however and all of the dams do need some repairs as they are nearly 100 years old.
The cost to complete the entire endeavor (purchase from Boyce, etc) is expected to be approx. 10-13 million dollars. The State of Michigan has provided a grant already of 5 million dollars. The county would then own the dams, gates, spillways and bottom land. There are repairs needed on all the dams but they do not need to be completed before establishing a lake level. There will be an assessment district created and the 4 Lakes Task Force is working to create that. There are approximately 8,500 lake access property owners on the lakes with about 6,000 actual lakefront owners. They expect the residential assessment will be assessed at no more than $350/year for the operational expenses. The assessment would not likely show up on taxes for another 1 ½ to 2 years even though they are working to have an established lake level by Spring/Summer. If you have adjoining properties you would most likely only receive one assessment. If you own multiple locations on the lake you would receive multiple assessments. The assessment would work very similar to how the current weed control assessment works.
The 4 Lakes Task Force does not believe that there has been any negative environmental impact thus far.
The establishment of the 307 State Lake Levels would be a fall back for the other 3 lakes should they ever lose their license from FERC. The other 3 lakes would not have to go through what Wixom is currently experiencing.
The 4 Lakes Task Force has already been present at many township meetings but they plan to hold more meetings for the public in Mid Feb – Mid March. The task force has said that there are hundreds of lakes under the 307 Lake Level order in Michigan. It is the goal of the 4 Lakes Task Force to get the lake level up on Wixom Lake as quickly and cost effectively as possible. The members of the 4 Lakes Task Force are all volunteers and they encourage you to join your lake associations by making a monetary donation. You can follow all the progress and updates by visiting http://www.four-lakes-taskforce-mi.com/ and wixomlakeassociation.org. They also both have Facebook pages.